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High on the top of a church roof in Sheffield there lives a small family of wild theropod dinosaurs. The species in question is Falco peregrinus – more commonly known as the Peregrine falcon. Thanks to the University of Sheffield, this beautiful predatory bird’s nesting behaviour is freely accessible live on cam. I have them on in the background, they’re more entertaining than any virtual “desktop companion”. Yesterday’s feeding was particularly eventful. Below is a gallery of 51 images taken from 14:46 to 16:36. There are 3 chicks and an egg in the nest. I have only recently started following their behaviour so I don’t know if this is a chick that never was or a sumptuous morsel brought in by a parent. Today’s windy weather revealed the shell has been pecked open on one side and is now completely hollow so either way it became food. The chicks alternate between playing with it and pretending to incubate it.

It’s very clear from watching them that there is a range of personalities there even though they are quite hard to differentiate by appearance. One of them is very bold and pushy – frequently pinching food off the others and hiding it under its mantle. Today this one has done a lot of wing-spreading in the wind and I suspect it will be the first to fly. Another chick seems quite cautious and lets the others push in front for food. When it finally did pluck up the courage to take some, it got a small feather stuck in its throat and spent the remainder of the first course learning how to dislodge it (frames #24 – 26). The parent did not attempt to help remove it but just flew off to collect the next course.

This gallery is no substitute for watching the live feed but this is stuff they won’t repeat again and no two meals are alike so, if you missed it, this is as good as it’s getting. They’re a delight to watch and they are constantly surprising. I’m so glad Sheffield Uni have done this and so glad the peregrine falcon is making a small come-back in that area.

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